I hope you’ve all had a great week, wherever you currently are in the world. It remains a little grey here but we have had some sunny days too, which have been great for the soul. As I complete my first week of self employment, I felt it important to reflect on how it went, and how I’m feeling. After all, I’ve been wanting this for so long, and I have talked about it for so, so long. Is it everything I tought it would be?
In a nutshell? Yes! Absolutely, 100%. Here are some of the main things I have reflected on this past week:
Of course, it being just the first week, I do not know for certain how this will plan out financially, and I have worried a little about this.
But then again, I have always worried about money. Convincing myself that “I am bad with money”, that I overspend far too much and have very little to show for it… I have been beating myself up with this from a very young age.
I have, however, been working to change my train of thought on this. Nowadays, instead of beating myself up about money and poor decisions I have made in the past, I focus on the positive, and the fact that, being resourceful, money does appear to flow out of my life rather easily. However, it is always flowing into my life as well.
Maybe not loads, not enough to live lavishly, eat out every week and just go off on holiday every other week. But enough to cover the basics, to live mortgage free and debt free in my 30s. Enough to eat well, go exploring with the kids, and handle emergencies on the house like getting the roof fixed (it’s so nice to no longer have a waterfall in the living room each time it rains!).
I did some work with Travy Virr on this very subjet a little while back during our sessions, and I do feel a lot more at peace in my relationship with money since.
So overall, whilst I worry a little about earning enough to cover all the essentials, I also remain optimistic and motivated to earn sufficiently enough, and then some more so we can go travelling more, all over the world, with the kids.
To plan or not to plan
I am not one to plan much in advance. I could never answer the question “what do you want to be when you grow up”, or even “where do you see yourself in 5/10 years?”.
I don’t operate that way.
7 years ago to this day, Siena and I had flown home after nearly two weeks in hospital abroad, where she had to have emergency surgery and intensive care. It was during this time, whilst watching her sleep at the hospital, that I decided there had to be more to life than this. My family had already lost far too many family members in a much too short period of time. Siena’s surgery was the last straw and I still remember emailing my resignation to the firm I worked at as a lawyer, sat on the chair in her hospital room, whilst she slept in her bed.
I had no plan as such, other than knowing I would be home when Siena started preschool in September and I could look after Hugo myself, so I would not have to worry about childcare. As my salary had just about covered our childcare fees for both kids, this made sense financially, or at the very least, did not make us any worse off. I think we were even better off by a whole £20 a month which we found hilarious at the time.
I gave myself two years to figure out my next step, as by then Hugo would be starting pre-school.
I remained curious, chatted to a lot of people, and made myself open to new opportunities. Six months later, I had followed an intensive career change floristry course and had started my own business. From then on, and up until our move to France, I worked on weddings, funerals, photoshoots, workshops… I kept having to pinch myself that this was my job, it was so much fun!
I never regretted any of my decisions.
The journey leading to this week
This time, it feels a little similar. I don’t have an exact plan mapped out. Having said that, the journey leading me here has not been an easy one.
For a long time, back in Bristol, and then when we first arrived here in France, I found myself facing a blank wall.
You see, whilst my brain doesn’t tend to like planning things too much, it does work in a very visual way. So although I cannot see where I might be next year or in ten years, I can usually see different paths ahead of me, different doors for me to walk through, knowing that each one will bring with it a new journey. This is usually enough to help me move forward in my decisions.
But for the past few years, I stopped being able to see anything. Nothing at all. I felt lost, and very confused. Why could I not see anything? What did it mean? As a result, I have found the past few years difficult. I am so grateful for my sister, Barry and people like Tracy who helped me along the way, patiently and lovingly. I tried as best as I could to take each day as it came. Trying not to overthink anything, and focus on the small things.
Along the way, I decided to take this time to take a good look at myself, and to stop ignoring things that I had been avoiding. I went on a good old journey of self discovery. I started to try and figure out who I am, and who I wanted to be. A younger version of myself, probably about 8 or so, also kept popping up to cheer me on, my very own fun, silly and happy cheerleader.
Two years later, this all began to pay off and I started to feel more at peace. I felt calmer than I had for a long time, as though a gentle flow was going. Not still, nor crashing waves, but a continuous gentle flow. Once I realised this, things started to happen. I once again started to feel that previously optimistic vibe I had nurtured so many times in the past. I felt creative again, took up reading for fun once more, and generally felt excited about what lay ahead.
And what do you know? New doors and pathways started popping up again in my life. This allowed me to hand in my notice at work, and to start a brand new journey on a new path.
And now here I am. One week in. I feel happy, calm, at peace.
I have had time to do the small things I care about.
I have been able to pick up the kids from school every day, and will be available to do the school run as of September when both kids start in new schools.
I have had work from two different clients, which will be regular work. I really enjoyed the work, and can’t wait to get back to it on Monday!
I was able to not work on Saturday, as I had done for nearly three years, and start my weekend on friday afternoon instead. This makes such a difference to the weekend, and my wellbeing. I even had a lie in and read my book in bed, bliss!
So yes, so far, being self employed is everything I hoped it would be. I didn’t expect to feel quite so happy and calm straight away, but the fact that I do, speaks for itself really.
So why share this? Well, first of all, it helps me realise the importance of this week, and finally making things happen after talking about it for so long.
But also, I know I am not alone to have felt the way I did. How many times have you seen a friend, a colleague, a family member, anyone really, do something that made you think : “I wish I could do something like that but I can’t”…. Be honest, have you? Whether it is getting a new job, going through a career change, moving abroad, taking up a new class…. anything at all, the secret is : We can do hard things. Yes, they can be scary. Yes, there will always be good times as well as more difficult times. But nothing is impossible. Life is short, but it is beautiful. Believe in yourself. Imagine your dream coming true, and how amazing it would feel!
It helps me a lot to remember that.
Whenever a thought pops up in my head, it tends to get bigger, and bigger, until I can’t ignore it. At first, all of my fears will come up to face it and try and scare it off. But when I keep the fears at bay, and let the light shine on this thought instead, this is when these thoughts are able to mature into beautiful journeys, leading me to beautiful, amazing adventures.
Be sure to water those seedlings, as the smallest of thoughts can turn into something truly beautiful. Over the years, watching loved ones go through similar journeys has been amazing. Having people around to inspire you, encourage you and support you can make such a big difference too, so if I can help someone achieve this in one way or another, then I’m happy.
And you have it in you too, we all do!
Can you relate to the above? Is there something you would secretely love to do but feel that you can’t?
Perhaps you can relate as you have already taken the leap into new pathways, if so I’d love to hear from you and to find out how you found it.